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Orient Express

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for Orient Express ice-cream sundae.

By Rodney Dunn
  • 55 mins preparation
  • 35 mins cooking plus cooling, chilling, freezing, setting
  • Serves 6
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Orient Express
This dessert channels South East Asia’s bubble drinks. Cucumber isn’t a typical dessert ingredient, but the juice is refreshing and cleansing and the jelly and tapioca pearls add texture.


  • 100 gm tapioca pearls, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes, drained, rinsed under cold running water (see note) (½ cup)
  • 185 gm dark palm sugar, finely chopped
  • 50 ml strong-brewed jasmine tea
  • 200 ml coconut cream
  • To serve: toasted shredded coconut
Star anise ice-cream
  • 450 ml pouring cream
  • 375 ml milk (1½ cups)
  • 5 star anise
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 150 gm caster sugar
Lychee and ginger sorbet
  • 380 gm lychee flesh
  • 200 ml sugar syrup
  • 2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
Cucumber and coriander jelly
  • 500 gm Lebanese cucumbers (about 4)
  • ½ cup (firmly packed) coriander
  • 2 titanium-strength gelatine leaves, softened in cold water for 5 minutes
  • 1½ tbsp caster sugar


  • 1
    For star anise ice-cream, bring cream, milk and star anise to the boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick and pale. Pour in cream mixture, whisk to combine, return mixture to pan and stir over low-medium heat until mixture thickly coats the back of a spoon (5-6 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, refrigerate until chilled, then freeze in an ice-cream machine until required. Makes about 1 litre.
  • 2
    For lychee and ginger sorbet, purée ingredients in a blender until smooth and freeze in an ice-cream machine until required. Makes about 750ml.
  • 3
    For cucumber and coriander jelly, juice cucumber and coriander in an electric juicer to yield 850ml juice (see note), skim scum from surface and transfer 200ml (reserve remainder) to a small saucepan and warm over medium heat. Squeeze gelatine to remove excess water then add to pan with sugar, stir to dissolve, transfer to a container, add remaining juice, stir to combine and refrigerate until set (4-5 hours).
  • 4
    Cook tapioca in a saucepan of boiling water, stirring occasionally, until translucent (10-15 minutes). Drain, rinse under cold running water, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. Meanwhile, stir palm sugar and jasmine tea in a saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, simmer until slightly thickened (8-10 minutes), then set aside to cool to room temperature. Add tapioca, stir to combine and refrigerate until required.
  • 5
    Divide tapioca mixture among chilled glasses, pour coconut cream over, top with cucumber and coriander jelly and scoops of lychee and ginger sorbet and star anise ice-cream, scatter with toasted shredded coconut and serve immediately.


Tapioca pearls are available from Asian grocers. If you don’t have a juicer, purée the cucumber and coriander in a blender then pass it through a fine sieve.
This recipe is from the February 2013 issue of

  • undefined: Rodney Dunn